Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter

Date:
January 25, 2005
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
For the giant Australian cuttlefish, mating is a complicated undertaking complete with fighting, sneaking, and deception. In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Roger Hanlon and his colleagues demonstrate that for this species, deception while mating pays off.

Giant Australian cuttlefish.
Credit: Photo credit: Roger Hanlon

WOODS HOLE, MA (January 19, 2005) -- For the giant Australian cuttlefish, mating is a complicated undertaking complete with fighting, sneaking, and deception. In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) senior scientist Roger Hanlon and his colleagues demonstrate that for this species, deception while mating pays off.

Hanlon and his team present behavioral and genetic data demonstrating that small male cuttlefish that dramatically alter their appearance to look like females are highly successful in tricking their often larger male competitors and fertilizing the female’s eggs. While the sexual mimicry that the cuttlefish employ has been widely reported in nature, this is the first time fertilization success in an animal using this strategy has been documented.

Hanlon and his colleagues studied the cuttlefish (Sepia apama) in a remote coastal area of the Australian outback. For ten days they painstakingly observed and filmed the intense mating competition between the females and their suitors, including large “guard” males, smaller “sneaker” males, who attempt to mate with females as the guard fights other males, and males who mimic the appearance of a female. In contrast to some other animals, whose ability to mimic is part of their genetic makeup, giant Australian cuttlefish use neural control to instantly change their skin patterning, posture, and tactics. According to Hanlon the cuttlefish can switch between a male and female appearance 10 to 15 times per minute. “In the blink of an eye they can pull out of it and go back to being a male,” he says.

Using DNA fingerprinting, Hanlon and his team found that the mimickers were successful in fertilizing females 60 percent of the time. The results, they say, are surprising since female cuttlefish of this species reject most mating attempts by any type of male 70 percent of the time. “This is not an easy behavior to study,” says Hanlon. “But we hope that our paper will engage other behavioral ecologists to go out and study mating systems of other animals to refute or support what we found.”

###

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, dedicated to improving the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. MBL hosts research programs in cell and developmental biology, ecosystems studies, molecular biology and evolution, neurobiology, behavior, global infectious diseases and sensory physiology. Its intensive graduate-level educational program is renowned throughout the life sciences. The MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Marine Biological Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2005, January 25). New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "New Research Shows In The Animal World, It Pays To Be An Imposter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050124005322.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins